EASTERN ONTARIO — The Wynne government’s promised consultations on the future of rural schooling kick off this Friday in Merrickville.
Three Liberal MPPs are travelling to several sites around the province to gather public input on public education. The May 5 session at the Eastons Corners/Merrickville-Woldford Community Centre represents one of three Eastern Ontario stops (counting Peterborough) and is closest to the SDG region roiled by the Upper Canada District School Board’s recently concluded pupil accommodation review process.
Reacting to the foment and public outcry prompted by a slew of proposed rural Ontario school closures across the province last winter, Education Minister Mitzie Hunter appointed the panel of MPPs, drawn exclusively from the ranks of her Liberal colleagues.
This Friday’s meeting begins 6:30 p.m. at 43 Park Street, Merrickville.
Local MPP Jim McDonell urges “all residents” of his Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry riding to attend the event. He also complains that the panel’s schedule — released yesterday — hasn’t been adequately publicized, and that the “Liberal-only” trio isn’t travelling more extensively through the far-eastern end of the province. This demonstrates, he alleges, “a clear unwillingness to hear from as many school communities facing closure as possible.”
Observes McDonell: “Ontarians have shown on numerous occasions that they are willing to travel in all conditions to voice their demand for better access to education in rural Ontario – this meeting should be no exception. It is important that we stand up for our children’s education and our rural quality of life.”
The panel’s schedule continues to be updated at https://www.ontario.ca/page/consultation-ontarios-rural-education-strategy.
Update: Minister Mitzie Hunter’s office has announced she will attend this Friday’s event.
The Google Map below shows the planned stops on the panel’s tour (created by Steph Jaworski).
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